New concepts of IL-10-induced lung fibrosis: Fibrocyte recruitment and M2 activation in a CCL2/CCR2 axis

Lei Sun, Marisa C. Louie, Kevin M. Vannella, Carol A. Wilke, Ann Marie Levine, Bethany B. Moore, Thomas P. Shanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

198 Scopus citations


IL-10 is most commonly recognized as an anti-inflammatory cytokine possessing immunosuppressive effects necessary for regulated resolution of proinflammation. However, its role in the development of fibrosis during inflammatory resolution has not been clear. Few prior studies have linked IL-10 with the inhibition of fibrosis principally on the basis of regulating inflammation thought to be driving fibroprolifera-tion. In contrast, in a model of long-term overexpression of IL-10, we observed marked induction of lung fibrosis in mice. The total cell number retrieved by bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) increased 10-fold in the IL-10 overexpression (IL-10 OE) mice, with significant infiltration of T and B lymphocytes and collagen-producing cells. The presence of increased fibrocytes, isolated from collagenase-digested lungs, was identified by flow cytometry using dual staining of CD45 and collagen 1. Quantitative PCR analysis on an array of chemokine/ chemokine receptor genes showed that receptor CCR2 and its ligand, CCL2, were highly upregulated in IL-10 OE mice, suggesting that IL-10-induced fibrocyte recruitment was CCL2/CCR2 specific. Given the prior association of alternatively activated (M2) macrophages with development of fibrosis in other disease states, we also examined the effect of IL-10 OE on the M2 macrophage axis. We observed significantly increased numbers of M2 macrophages in both BAL and whole lung tissue from the IL-10 OE mice. Administration of rabbit anti-CCL2 antiserum to IL-10 OE mice for three consecutive weeks significantly decreased fibrosis as evidenced by lung hydroxyproline content, compared with mice that received preimmune rabbit serum. These results indicate that overexpression of IL-10 induces fibrosis, in part, by fibrocyte recruitment and M2 macrophage activation, and likely in a CCL2/CCR2 axis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L341-L353
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011


  • Alveolar macrophage
  • Chemokine
  • Inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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